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1 February 2009 Characteristics of Summer and Fall Diurnal Resting Habitat Used by American Martens in Coastal Northwestern California
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American martens use resting habitat between periods of activity to provide both thermal refugia and protection from predators. Maintenance or restoration of key elements of marten resting habitat, such as resting structures, requires that managers recognize their characteristics to protect them, or manage for their creation. We measured resting habitat at 4 scales : (1) the resting location—where the marten actually rested; (2) the resting structure—the habitat element that contained the resting location; (3) the resting site—characteristics in the immediate vicinity of each resting structure; and (4) the resting stand—the forest stand containing the resting structure. During the summer and fall of 2001 and 2002 we identified resting structures used by 12 radio-collared martens (7 Male, 5 Female) and 1 uncollared marten. The animals were the members of the only remnant population of martens within the historical range of the Humboldt marten (M. a. humboldtensis). The study area included portions of the Six Rivers National Forest, Smith River National Recreation Area, and adjacent Green Diamond Resource Company lands in coastal northwestern California. We located martens resting on 55 occasions in the following types of structures: snags (37%), logs (23%), live-trees (17%), slash-piles (10%), rock-piles (8%), and shrub clumps (6%). The location in the structure where the marten actually rested was determined on 92% of occasions and included chambers (33%), cavities (33%), broken tops (22%), branch platforms (6%), ground sites (6%), and basal hollows (2%). Woody structures were large, with mean dbh of 93.9 cm for live-trees , 94.9 cm for snags, and 88.2 cm maximum-diameter for logs. The mean age of 24 of the woody resting structures was 339 years (range 131–666 years). Our results are consistent with results from other studies on resting structure use and highlight the importance of large live and dead woody structures for American martens in coastal forests of northwestern California.

Keith M. Slauson and William J. Zielinski "Characteristics of Summer and Fall Diurnal Resting Habitat Used by American Martens in Coastal Northwestern California," Northwest Science 83(1), (1 February 2009).
Received: 28 March 2008; Accepted: 1 November 2008; Published: 1 February 2009

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